The USD Legal Clinics completed its first outreach of the summer semester with a presentation by the Immigration Clinic at Cherokee Elementary School. Supervising Attorneys, Peggy A. Kane and Sandra Wagner presented information to parents and young adults on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), on Tuesday, June 25, 2013. Assisted by Outreach Coordinator and Spanish Interpreter, Patty O’Deane, attorneys and interns discussed the eligibility requirements for DACA, how to apply for deferred action, and issues to be aware of and consider before applying. Immigration Clinic Legal Interns Omeed Latifi, Julia Anne Stediles, Jennielyn Alcarion, Mariane Davila and Isaac Lucas-Holguin attended the presentation, along with twenty-nine parents.
“Many of the people with immigration issues living within the community are too scared to seek out help with their problems and putting on events like this can alleviate their fears about getting aid,” comments Legal Intern Isaac Lucas. “After attending the presentation, I realized that many of the students in the school were facing serious immigration issues with their parents or other family members. It was very eye-opening to see, first hand, so many parents living in fear of being separated from their families while thinking that they had no solutions available to them.”
On June 15, 2012 Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano issued a memo explaining how prosecutorial discretion should be applied to individuals who came to the United States as children. That memo set forth the process for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals known as “DACA”. DACA is for certain undocumented young people who came to the U.S. as children and have pursued education or military service here and meet specific criteria. Applications to the program began on August 15, 2012. Since the program’s inception, many qualified individuals haven’t received accurate information about eligibility. Moreover fraudulent services have been marketed by businesses claiming to fast track and ensure DACA approval.
“This presentation is really important to the community because there is so much misinformation about DACA and many people receive advice that is usually not appropriate for their cases,” comments Legal Intern Julia Annes Stedile. “This presentation clarifies some important points about immigration status and also options other than DACA that they can pursue.”
Attorneys Kane and Wagner answered questions after the presentation, and Legal Interns provided additional information about the Legal Clinics and accessing its services. “Educating the immigrant community on immigration issues is one of the goals of the Immigration Clinic,” states Supervising Attorney Kane. “Additionally, doing Outreach is important to our students because it gives them an opportunity to interact with potential clients in a community setting, outside of the Clinic walls.”
As a result of the outreach presentation, twelve attendees signed up for consultations with the Immigration Clinic and students were able to reflect on the experience. “It was very interesting to speak with some of the parents about potential legislation surrounding immigration and the future of immigration in general,” reflects Lucas. “Being able to discuss pending legislation and government policy with the parents as well as the hope they held in the political process was very rewarding, given the circumstances most of them have come from.”
“I also learned there are a lot of people with immigration problems who are afraid to seek help, “adds Stedile. “And I saw firsthand that the Legal Clinics are really helpful to the community, particularly by offering these presentations that provide accurate information to help resolve potential problems.”
For more information regarding upcoming Immigration Clinic presentations as well as additional clinics’ outreach, visit our calendar of events.